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Old 02-27-2013, 08:29 AM   #21
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I'm really confused here. Is all this because of the answer I gave a while back explaining the bad things that would happen if you engaged both breakers at the same time?

Or is it in response to something else that I missed?
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Old 02-27-2013, 08:30 AM   #22
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Old 02-27-2013, 08:36 AM   #23
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I'm really confused here. Is all this because of the answer I gave a while back explaining the bad things that would happen if you engaged both breakers at the same time?
I don't think so. If your post #6 is the one, it is pretty good stuff.

I see now where the live prongs thing came from and if the boat plug is connected and if both the generator and the shore power breakers are closed - which is irrational - then that will energize the prongs but if the shore power breaker is open it shouldn't be an issue. None of the breakers, shore power or pedestal breaker should be closed until the cord is connected and secured anyway. If there is a reverse current issue the breakers will take the hit, not you.
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Old 02-27-2013, 08:41 AM   #24
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Do you have a specific issue with the content?

Feel free to chime in with relevant factual information - if you have any.
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Old 02-27-2013, 08:47 AM   #25
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I don't think so. If your post #6 is the one, it is pretty good stuff.

I see now where the live prongs thing came from and if the boat plug is connected and if both the generator and the shore power breakers are closed - which is irrational - then that will energize the prongs but if the shore power breaker is open it shouldn't be an issue. None of the breakers, shore power or pedestal breaker should be closed until the cord is connected and secured anyway. If there is a reverse current issue the breakers will take the hit, not you.
OK, everyone is talking about people saying you can't do this and you can't do that and not knowing what they are talking about, and I'm not reading any of it in this thread and hence scratching my head. I guess everyone is referring to "other" posts and discussions?

On the live plug, the scenario I had in mind is gen running and shore power NOT plugged in. If you turned both breakers on, the prongs at the shore power inlet would be live and dangerous. And if you connected your power cord to that inlet, then the shore-end of the cord would now have live pins exposed. OK, the "die" part is a little hyperbole, but it would still be a pretty bad thing.
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Old 02-27-2013, 08:58 AM   #26
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............. On the live plug, the scenario I had in mind is gen running and shore power NOT plugged in. If you turned both breakers on, the prongs at the shore power inlet would be live and dangerous. And if you connected your power cord to that inlet, then the shore-end of the cord would now have live pins exposed. OK, the "die" part is a little hyperbole, but it would still be a pretty bad thing.
My father in law (a farmer by trade) rigged a portable generator at his house as a backup. Instead of a transfer switch, he made a cord with male plugs at each end (a "suicide cord" in my trade). It stays plugged in at the generator and when the power goes out, he unplugs the electric dryer and plugs the male plug reom the generator into the receptacle. He turns off the main breaker, starts the generator, and has power in his house.

I tried to tell mim that this was a dangerous situation, but at his age and with his knowledge of electricity (), he thinks it's just fine. One day the generator will get started first or someone will unplug the dryer end with the generator running and that could well be the end of somebody. One day he will forget to turn off the main breaker and a lineman working on what should be a dead line may end up the same way.

There are a lot of people out there with little or no understanding of electricity. That's fine as long as they leave it to the pros, but some can't resist trying things and if they work, the thought is, that's a fine way to do it.
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Old 02-27-2013, 09:01 AM   #27
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Do you have a specific issue with the content?

Feel free to chime in with relevant factual information - if you have any.
The whole issue was covered in a previous thread which was closed by the moderators when it got out of hand with the name calling and personal insults.

You and your buddy seem to be starting it up again.
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Old 02-27-2013, 09:06 AM   #28
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My father in law (a farmer by trade) rigged a portable generator at his house as a backup. Instead of a transfer switch, he made a cord with male plugs at each end (a "suicide cord" in my trade). It stays plugged in at the generator and when the power goes out, he unplugs the electric dryer and plugs the male plug reom the generator into the receptacle. He turns off the main breaker, starts the generator, and has power in his house.

I tried to tell mim that this was a dangerous situation, but at his age and with his knowledge of electricity (), he thinks it's just fine. One day the generator will get started first or someone will unplug the dryer end with the generator running and that could well be the end of somebody. One day he will forget to turn off the main breaker and a lineman working on what should be a dead line may end up the same way.

There are a lot of people out there with little or no understanding of electricity. That's fine as long as they leave it to the pros, but some can't resist trying things and if they work, the thought is, that's a fine way to do it.
Or, as I will confess, you might know what you are doing and simply make a mistake. I once forgot to open the main service breaker when I activated my generator. The result was a feeble attempt by my generator to re-power the grid. The grid won and my generator lost.

We all all F&(*k up now and then, and that's why fail safes are a good idea.
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Old 02-27-2013, 09:26 AM   #29
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Or, as I will confess, you might know what you are doing and simply make a mistake. I once forgot to open the main service breaker when I activated my generator. The result was a feeble attempt by my generator to re-power the grid. The grid won and my generator lost.

We all all F&(*k up now and then, and that's why fail safes are a good idea.
My FIL thinks he knows what he is doing and in fact, as long as nobody screws up, it will work and that's why he thinks he is right.

In reality, humans do screw up. That's why we have seatbelts, motorcycle helmets, PFDs, etc.

In your case, you could have killed a lineman working on the line. Gensets should have a transfer switch or lockout of some kind to prevent this. If it's installed by a pro and inspected, it will.
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Old 02-27-2013, 09:28 AM   #30
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Do you have a specific issue with the content?

Feel free to chime in with relevant factual information - if you have any.
Rick, I would really like to stop arguing with you and your buddy on every little issue so if you two will agree to stop with the insulting language, we could all have a more enjoyable time on this forum and perhaps we could all learn from each other.
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Old 02-27-2013, 10:10 AM   #31
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On the live plug, the scenario I had in mind is gen running and shore power NOT plugged in. If you turned both breakers on, the prongs at the shore power inlet would be live and dangerous. And if you connected your power cord to that inlet, then the shore-end of the cord would now have live pins exposed.
That is the reason there is an interlock. Unless the boat is equipped to allow paralleling of power sources there must be a mechanical interlock to prevent both sources from being connected to the buss at the same time. The OP asked why there is an interlock, that is the reason.

If you are interested in electrical safety then you must consider the sequence of events when switching between shore power and generator power and follow them. There should be no means (interlock) or reason (forgetting to do something) that will create a hazardous condition. If the exposed prongs are energized, either the boat is not properly equipped or the use is not adequately prepared to handle that procedure.

Why would anyone handle an energized shore power cord in any event? The boat end and shore end breakers should be open until the boat (and the user) are prepared to receive shore power. The shore end breaker should be closed first so that the supply can be verified at the switchboard and only then should the shore power breaker on the boat be closed. That procedure provides several opportunities to confirm that all is in order and avoids handling any energized components.

Guns and cars can be dangerous to those who don't know how to operate them, boats can be dangerous as well, electricity is no different, we are not talking about unknown territory and we are not talking about building codes or house wiring rules.
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Old 02-27-2013, 10:15 AM   #32
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But I can't resist...I love the one where if you touch the prongs of a 110 shore power cord you will DIE......man...I giggled myself to sleep last night...
Just to clarify your point... Based on your referenced lifetime of experience, if I jumper my Shore/Generator rotary switch to combine these circuits, start my 20kw genset and plug in the 240 v 50 amp shore power cord, then grab a hold of the male end, (now energized), the idea that I might die by making contact with 80 amps at 240 volts on a metal boat in sea water is so remote that we should deride someone who suggests it?

This is why sites like this can be so depressing.
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Old 02-27-2013, 10:21 AM   #33
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................ Why would anyone handle an energized shore power cord in any event? ...........
Simple. Because he or she doesn't know any better or doesn't know the cord is energized. It could be your wife, your children or grandchildren, a marina employee or a slip neighbor trying to help.

Why do lawnmowers have to shut down the engine or blades if the handle interlock is releasd? Why would anyone stick their hand under a running lawnmower? Apparently, some people have done just that, that is why they now have the safety interlock.
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Old 02-27-2013, 10:21 AM   #34
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... if I jumper my Shore/Generator rotary switch to combine these circuits, start my 20kw genset and plug in the 240 v 50 amp shore power cord, then grab a hold of the male end, (now energized)...
You would be a strong candidate for the Darwin Award.

We can install interlocks to help prevent mistakes and institute procedures to promote safe operating practices, but nothing can prevent stupid. Sometimes the herd is culled for good reason.
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Old 02-27-2013, 10:31 AM   #35
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Rick, I would really like to stop arguing with you and your buddy on every little issue so if you two will agree to stop with the insulting language, we could all have a more enjoyable time on this forum and perhaps we could all learn from each other.
Believe me it's not us!!!!
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Old 02-27-2013, 10:34 AM   #36
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Just to clarify your point... Based on your referenced lifetime of experience, if I jumper my Shore/Generator rotary switch to combine these circuits, start my 20kw genset and plug in the 240 v 50 amp shore power cord, then grab a hold of the male end, (now energized), the idea that I might die by making contact with 80 amps at 240 volts on a metal boat in sea water is so remote that we should deride someone who suggests it?

This is why sites like this can be so depressing.
Wouldn't say you were incorrect...but RIGHT IN MY POST...I said 110...and sure you can kill yourself with 110 or 220...but...

The probabilities are pretty low unless a lot of "correct" happens. Most people I know have been "bit" at least a few times with nothing more than a good tingle.

Of course they are depressing if you take them or yourself too seriously...
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Old 02-27-2013, 11:35 AM   #37
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Very interesting conversation. Enlightening to read about different technologies on different types of boats and what great commercial technology is trickling down for use on our toys.

As far as taking Internet advice for gospel and applying it in practice-we got a LOT of advice about how to install our inverter and new house bank. Read Nigel Calders book. Mulled it over for months. And paid a marine electrician to do it. Despite so many people telling us we could go it ourselves. Just not worth it to us to mess with something we really didn't understand.
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Old 02-27-2013, 12:07 PM   #38
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Greetings,
"Just not worth it to us to mess with something we really didn't understand." I use the same approach with women.
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Old 02-27-2013, 12:13 PM   #39
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OMG, time to pull the eject lever. I'm outa this "conversation".
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Old 02-27-2013, 12:23 PM   #40
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Greetings,
"Just not worth it to us to mess with something we really didn't understand." I use the same approach with women.
That's why you are a hall of famer....you appreciate humor and it's necessity...

especilly the taking yourself so seriously part...
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